News / Economy

Five Arrested in $45 Million Global Cybercrime Scheme

Reuters
Five people were arrested and charged on Monday for participating in a worldwide ATM heist that stole $45 million from two Middle East banks.
 
The five men, all residents of the New York City suburb of Yonkers, were accused of being members of a global cybercrime organization that stole Mastercard Inc.  debit-card information, according to an announcement from Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
 
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Lynch's office, declined to comment on where the cybercrime organization is based, saying the investigation was ongoing.
 
The five arrested Monday were “cashers” in the scheme, withdrawing approximately $2.8 million from more than 140 ATMs in New York City, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
 
The hackers stole debit card data from the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Bank Muscat in Oman in two attacks in December 2012 and February 2013, according to prosecutors.
 
They broke into payment-processing companies used by the two banks and raised the balances and withdrawal limits on the cards, prosecutors said. Crews in more than 20 countries, such as the cell arrested Monday, then withdrew $5 million between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 and $40 million between Feb. 19 and Feb. 20.
 
The five defendants arrested Monday - Anthony Diaz, 24; Saul Franjul, 23; Saul Genao, 24; Jaindhi Polanco, 29; and Jose Angeley Valerio, 25 - pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
 
Each faces up to 7.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the announcement.
 
Prosecutors said that days after the February attack, Franjul packed approximately $800,000 in cash into luggage that was sent by bus to one of the heist's organizers, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena.
 
Lajud-Pena, also known as “Prime” and “Albertico,” was murdered April 27 in the Dominican Republic.
 
“After exploiting cyber-weaknesses in the financial system to steal millions from ATMs, these defendants were packing bags to the brim with stolen cash, destined for the cybercriminal organizers of these attacks,” Lynch said in a statement on Monday.
 
The arrests came six months after prosecutors in Brooklyn announced charges against eight others in the scheme, including Lajud-Pena.
 
Four other defendants have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme, while three have pleaded not guilty, according to Nardoza.
 
Authorities in Germany arrested two Dutch citizens in February for their involvement in the scheme after they were caught withdrawing money at cash machines in Dusseldorf.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.